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Searching for microbial contribution to micritization of shallow marine sediments

by E Garuglieri, R Marasco, C Odobel, V Chandra, T Teillet, C Areias, M Sanchez-Roman, V Vahrenkamp, D Daffonchio
Article Year: 2024 DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.16573

Abstract

Micritization is an early diagenetic process that gradually alters primary carbonate sediment grains through cycles of dissolution and reprecipitation of microcrystalline calcite (micrite). Typically observed in modern shallow marine environments, micritic textures have been recognized as a vital component of storage and flow in hydrocarbon reservoirs, attracting scientific and economic interests. Due to their endolithic activity and the ability to promote nucleation and reprecipitation of carbonate crystals, microorganisms have progressively been shown to be key players in micritization, placing this process at the boundary between the geological and biological realms. However, published research is mainly based on geological and geochemical perspectives, overlooking the biological and ecological complexity of microbial communities of micritized sediments. In this paper, we summarize the state-of-the-art and research gaps in micritization from a microbial ecology perspective. Since a growing body of literature successfully applies in vitro and in situ ‘fishing’ strategies to unveil elusive microorganisms and expand our knowledge of microbial diversity, we encourage their application to the study of micritization. By employing these strategies in micritization research, we advocate promoting an interdisciplinary approach/perspective to identify and understand the overlooked/neglected microbial players and key pathways governing this phenomenon and their ecology/dynamics, reshaping our comprehension of this process.

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